Thursday, 19 March 2015

Carnage "Dark Recollections" (1990)

In the mood for some oldskool Death Metal I scoured the Internet for something new and discovered this cult record hailed as a "forgotten classic". Carnage are a small unheard of band from Växjö Sweden who, in their short lived career, released this one full length album on the legendary Earache records. Judging from their band photo the group were young and very much into the trending Death Metal scene which was to peak in this era with some fine records of which the tone and style is comparable to this. The group was founded by Michael Amott of Carcass, who after dissolving Carnage would go on to form the highly successful Arch Enemy.

"Dark Recollections" is a dark and dingy record. With low tonal guitar sounds in their infancy, the dated mixing becomes apparent as serious volume is required to hear the depth of whats going on. With the decibels raised the record holds up well considering the era and size of the band, its an impressive mix despite their being a nonexistent span of sound in the mid to mid-low range on the EQ. The low guitars have ripped, crunchy texture that masks the bass with its low end sound, the drum kit is well represented in the mix and despite not having a big sounds it does well to bring some brutality into the fold. The vocals are raw, gruff shouts and screams that are mixed above the rest of the instrumentation, with a flash of reverb they have a now "classic" vibe about them, as much retrospection will do.

The guitar riffage is the main focus and has a Post-Thrash feel in its faster moments, with slower grooves and guitar techniques that are distinguished by lead breaks that follow atonal, chromatic principles, giving the record its "death" feel beside the aesthetic. Theirs plenty of good riffs, often highlighted by the drumming which breaks up the flow, crashing in with symbols alongside the crushing guitar chords to transition between riffs. It remains on the lighter side with kick to snare tempos that occasionally dive into a blast.

The records given some break out moments by lead guitar solos that are often short in nature, sounding fantastic with a vibrant tone, but technically immature, a few hammer-ons and harmonics thats given its spark by tone and excessive reverb. There's one moment in "Torn Apart" where a dark synth is used before a lead solo, its a nice injection of mood that unfortunately is only featured on this one track. Although a couple of other bands experimented with Death Metal and synth (Nocturnus), it sounds like it could of worked for them too. Great record with a good aesthetic and musicianship, often reminding me of Entombed's "Clandestine". Good memories.

Favorite Tracks: Torn Apart, Gentle Exhuming, Outro
Rating: 7/10